Jason Allen 14/06/22

The Best Open Air Cinemas in London This Summer

Pop Up Cinemas London | 2022

Outdoor cinemas have one major disadvantage – they don’t have air conditioning.

Instead, they’re forced to make do with just the balmy evening air and a fresh cooling breeze that drifts along as the sun dips below the horizon, the day turns to night, and the screen lights up. Sounds utterly savage, we know.

But, if you can somehow still bring yourself to put up with that, then here are the very best wall-free cinemas popping up in the capital over the summer months…

See our colossal list of every single outdoor cinema screening this summer


Rooftop Film Club

Rooftop Film Club

The Vibe: They’ve got rooftops at Peckham’s Bussey Rooftop Bar, Roof East in Stratford, and The Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch; and they’re all equipped with popcorn, cocktails, and very handy wireless headphones. They’re one of the godfathers of London outdoor cinemas, and being all on rooftops the view is almost as good offscreen as on it.

The Movies: They have new season goodness like Dr Strange & The Multiverse of Madness, Top Gun: Maverick, and Everything Everywhere All At Once, as well as some classics like Superbad, In The Mood For Love, and Clueless.

Dates: Now until the end of July | Book tickets

Summer Showtime

summer showtime outdoor cinema

The Vibe: Pretty fancy. For the first time it’s being held in the brand-new six-acre park outside the newly revamped Battersea Power Station — and the combination of riverside views and the Grade II* listed behemoth makes for a backdrop almost as attention grabbing as what’s on the screen. The screenings are run by the nearby Cinema In The Arches, so you’ll find gourmet popcorn and snacks on offer, as well as seafood-heavy street food & cocktails from the Wright Brothers‘ pop-up shack.

The Movies: It’s pretty classic outdoor cinema fare, spanning cult flicks like Dirty Dancing and The Goonies up to modern classics A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Dates: 21st July – 21st August | Book here

Floating Film Festival

Floating Cinema

The Vibe: Um, the vibe is floating. On a beautiful, festoon-lit, astroturfed pontoon in the middle of the historic and uniquely atmospheric St Kat’s Docks, to be precise. They’re intimate screenings with small audiences perched on deckchairs and beanbags for two, and come with the considerable benefit of being parked under a rain-proof marquee.

The Movies: It’s a nice line-up of mostly recent-ish releases (Parallel Mothers, Encanto, Licorice Pizza) with Pretty Woman thrown in, because outdoor cinema.

Dates: 12th – 24th July | Book here

Bar Elba

Bar Elba

The Vibe: Bar Elba is a colourful, fun, bubbly rooftop bar with 5th floor views out across the South Bank. Depending on what package you spring for there’s popcorn, cinema sweets, and even bottomless booze. Rock up, watch the sun set, slap on your wireless headphones, and recline into a deck chair with plenty of Elba room.

The Movies: It certainly leans towards the old school (Die Hard, Mean Girls, Gremlins, etc.) but there are a few slightly newer releases on the docket for this summer including Dune, Last Night in Soho, and House of Gucci.

Dates: Now until the end of July | Book Tickets

Summer Screens at Canary Wharf

summer screens

The Vibe: Free. The vibe is free. But there are no chairs (in fact, all seating is banned) and there’s a limit to how many people can rock up. Once they hit the magic number, there’s no more admittance. So be early, and enjoy the fact that they also show a lot of sporting events, including cricket, tennis, and horse racing.

The Movies: Aside from a few Pride month specials (Brokeback Mountain, Carol), it’s all family friendly stuff, like Finding Nemo, Encanto, The Incredibles, etc.)

Dates: Now until 27th August

Summer by the River

Summer by the River outdoor cinema

The Vibe: The Scoop, a mini amphitheatre carved out of the river-bank next to The Mayor’s Office, is going to be hosting just about everything this summer (from comedy, to fitness classes, to sports, to music). And every Tuesday, they’ll be showing a film for free. Just show up, grab a seat, and admire the view of Tower Bridge.

The Movies: King Richard, Frozen (sing-a-long), Dirty Dancing, Spiderman: No Way Home, Space Jam 2, West Side Story (2021)… there’s quite a lot going on, especially considering they’re all gratis.

Dates: Now until 9th August

Adventure Cinema

adventure cinema

The Vibe: With the exception of VIP tickets, the vibe here is very much no-frills: you need to bring your own deckchair, picnic blanket, snacks & drinks, you name it. There are over 70 venues across the UK, and two of them are in London – at Charlton House & Osterley Manor.

The Movies: West Side Story (2021) and Mamma Mia! are hitting the screens at both locations, but Charlton House is also getting Rocketman and Osterley is getting Rocky Horror.

Dates: 24th, 25th, 26th June (Charlton House – book tickets) | 1st, 2nd, 3rd July (Osterley Manor – book tickets) | 19th, 20th, 21st August (Beckenham Place Park – book tickets)

The Luna Cinema

The Luna Cinema al fresco cinemas London

The Vibe: Big. The vibe is big. They’re hosting 175+ starlit screenings across the UK this year, with dozens in London alone. At all of them, you’ll find hot food, a bar, and (depending on the seating situation) blankets & backrests.

The Movies: Way too many to list. Whether it’s a new flick (Dune, Encanto, Belfast, etc.) or a classic (Cool Runnings, Some Like it Hot, Star Wars, etc.) they probably have a screening of it.

Dates:  26th June – 4th September (in London) | Book Tickets 

Everyman Screen on the Canal

The Vibe: These free screenings are particularly great, thanks to the fact that the seating is all situated on the grass-covered canal-side steps leading up to Granary Square, which means that everyone gets a good view. They’ll play movies, plus Wimbledon and the occasional live music show. And? You can order from the Everyman cinema’s menu, too.

The Movies: Dune, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Free Guy, West Side Story, Belfast, King Richard, Matilda, and an Encanto Sing-a-Long.

Dates: 27th June – 7th August | No tickets, just turn up

Secret Cinema: Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing

The Vibe: It’s both outdoors and indoors, and it’s basically like a big watermelon carrying festival. Of course, this is Secret Cinema, so we can’t exactly splurge on details here.

The Movies: Um, Dirty Dancing.

Dates: 13th – 31st July | Book tickets

Merchant Square Summer Movies

merchant square free outdoor cinema

The Vibe: Like any redeveloped London neighbourhood worth its salt, Paddington’s hosting its own free outdoor cinema screenings this summer. Here, they’ve got a screen set up right by the canal, and there are free deckchairs & popcorn for the first to arrive.

The Movies: Ghostbusters Afterlife, Coco, Moulin Rouge, Mean Girls and The Parent Trap.

Dates: Various dates between 2nd – 3oth August | No need to book – find out more here

Sunset Screenings

The Vibe: there are several things that Sunset Screenings do differently. 1) they only show British films. 2) they have a truly giant screen, at 9×7 meters. And 3) the screenings take place inside a beautiful walled cafe patio.

The Movies: The all-British lineup includes Labyrinth, Notting Hill, Withnail & I, and Charlie Chaplain’s Modern Times.

Dates: July 15th to 20th August | Book Tickets

Underbelly Festival

underbelly free outdoor cinema

The Vibe: It’s replacing the big purple cow tent that was housing live shows for the Underbelly Festival in Earl’s Court – so there’s a huge site to explore around the screen itself, including street food stalls, pop up bars, free boules courts, and an urban beach.

The Movies: It’s a nice mix of old and new, from classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Reservoir Dogs to Little Women and Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Plus, there’s a load of family-friendly screenings every afternoon.

Dates: 25th July – 3rd September | Free, just turn up – see the programme here

Pop Up Screens

Pop Up Screens outdoor cinemas london

The Vibe: Pop Up Screens isn’t just a name. It’s an inflatable cinema screen that – if you arrive early enough – you can literally see pop up. Since opening back in 2011, they’ve gone from strength to strength, and now boast venues across the capital with bars, food, fresh popcorn, and even chairs. And to celebrate 10 years in the biz, all tickets are just £10.

The Movies: They’ve handpicked classics from the ’70s (Grease), the ’80s (The Breakfast Club, The Goonies), the ’90s (Empire Records, 10 Things I Hate About You), the ’00s (Moulin Rouge!), the ’10s (The Greatest Showman), and the present (No Time To Die).

Dates: 22nd July – 18th September | Book tickets

Summer Sessions

greenwich outdoor cinema

The Vibe: What Greenwich Peninsula’s outdoor cinema lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for by being distinctly affordable, at £6 a pop. It’s tacked onto a summer-long season of free entertainment, which includes live music, pop-up minigolf & ping-pong, and screenings of Wimbledon & Tour de France.

The Movies: Relatively recent releases including Parallel Mothers, Respect, Us, West Side Story and Dune.

Dates: 25th June – 27th August | Book tickets

The Barbican

The Vibe: This one is, as the keener detectives will have guessed, at The Barbican. Specifically, in their atmospheric Sculpture Court, against a backdrop of the City skyline and the arts complex’s iconic brutalist buildings. And as you might expect, they’re not showing the Greatest Showman…

The Movies: …what they are showing however is Studio Ghibli classic Princess Mononoke, the iconic concert film of Pink Floyd at Pompeii, and the awesome ’60s creature feature Mothra.

Dates: 23rd-28th August | Book Tickets

Like doing stuff on rooftops? Check out our guide to the best rooftop bars in London

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